America the Messy Yard Police State

Yuma, Arizona anti-ugly law!


'Anti-ugly' rules hit Yuma nonprofit's building

Associated Press - September 14, 2009 1:44 PM ET

YUMA, Ariz. (AP) - A Yuma nonprofit struggling to meet provisions of the city's "anti-ugly" ordinance is turning to the community for help.

City officials cited the Catholic Community Services building in early August for uncontrolled vegetation, illegal dumping and being a vermin attraction.

Executive Director Sarah Seneker says she responded immediately by cleaning up the grounds, pulling out the offending vegetation and replacing it with rocks.

But that ran afoul of the city's "anti-ugly" rule, which requires the building to have at least 15 trees and 30 bushes in the front lot.

Cuts in state funding that provides some of the nonprofit's revenue mean the agency is short of cash for the project. Seneker is asking for help from the community. One local firm is offering to create a landscape plan that meets city code, but more help is needed.

Information from: The Sun,


CCS looks to community for help

September 13, 2009 3:14 PM


Members of the community are stepping up to help an embattled nonprofit get up to city code before it is fined under the "anti-ugly" ordinance.

The Catholic Community Services building, 690 E. 32nd St., was cited by the city of Yuma for uncontrolled vegetation, illegal dumping and being a vermin attraction in early August.

At that time Sarah Seneker, executive director of CCS, decided to act quickly and simply removed the decrepit vegetation that had caused the fuss, replacing it with rocks. Later she found by doing so, she was violating a city ordinance.

CCS is struggling because of budget cuts stemming from the poor economy and has been scrambling to find the resources to deal with the problem.

After hearing about their plight, the people at Pilkington Commercial decided to step in and take up the cause.

"We are trying to gather community support. We are going to get together next week and talk about what we can do," said Tammy Pilkington, secretary for Pilkington Commercial.

"We want to create a landscape plan to submit to the city, and we are looking for volunteers to help with the labor and purchasing of vegetation."

Pilkington said it is important to make sure CCS has a future.

"They are a service to the community and put a lot of effort into helping others. I would hate to see them use the money they need to be using for their services go toward landscaping. I know their budget has been cut and (Seneker) has no funds. This must be done by Sept. 27."

Seneker said the deadline is looming.

"I met with the city, but the problem is we still have to put these trees in. I have to submit the plans as soon as I can, and I need to have all trees planted by Sept. 27 in order to be in compliance. I haven't priced it out yet, and I have no idea how much it will cost. Everything is still up in the air, except for the fact that I have to put 15 trees and 30 bushes in the front lot. I will go with the cheapest vegetation I can find that is up to code."

Seneker said she doesn't know what will happen if she fails to fulfill the city's demands on time.

"I am under this pressure of not knowing the consequences of not complying with the city. There has been one positive aspect, a city employee by the name of Shelley Hook has been very kind in trying to ameliorate our horticultural situation. Still, none of this makes sense to me and it feels like we are being held to a different standard. My frustration still has not been eased or abated. We still have to do this in the heat of the summer with no funding."

Seneker said the funding CCS gets from the Catholic Church and the city of Yuma is minuscule at best.

"We only make 2 percent of our budget from the Catholic Church and the city of Yuma and the rest of the budget comes from the state of Arizona and the federal government. With the state budget cuts, we are encountering the most precarious of times in trying to serve the poorest and most disenfranchised in our community."

With all that is going on, Seneker said she is grateful for any help.

"I am very grateful that the Pilkingtons have made the offer to come to our rescue, and also to the many other people who have come forward to offer their services, and to donate plants."

To get more information, or to donate volunteer hours or plants, call 317-0345, Ext. 39, or 341-9400.


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